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Market-driven Options for Childbearing Women

August 22, 2011

What is the cost of your birth options?

We are Americans and we are known as the world’s greatest consumers.  But how is that working for those looking to purchase medical services?  And, more importantly, how is that affecting the cost of childbirth?

According to conservative estimates the cost of medical coverage will continue to go up the next 20 years.  It has been reported that health care will cost 32% of the GNP by 2035.  This means that the cost of medical care, physician’s fees, medical insurance, and the out of pocket expenses will continue to rise for consumers.

This may be a good thing for improving childbirth outcomes and services.  It is already a trend that more and more women are choosing to have their children at non-conventional locations such as at home and at birth centers.  Though these births amount to only a small percentage of the nation’s total births, a 20 percent growth is good news.

In another piece I wrote earlier this year, I mentioned that the cost factor may end up being the one thing that helps reign in the over expense procedures used in hospitals.  The cost of a c-section is more than twice most births; but let’s be real, the cost issue isn’t driving the change from hospital based birth to alternatives, it is the conscience of the consumer, who is looking for a better service.

But think about this, when the home birth fee of $2500 is compared to a birth that is only 80% covered by standard insurance, a woman is  going to think twice about having her baby in the big and impersonal institution.

My wife when attending a Cal State Fullerton premed class, she told of the anatomy professor asking why each member of the class was taking the class.  My wife stated it was need for her curriculum, as she was studying to become a midwife.  Her classmates, 15 years younger, all each and everyone of them basically said that they all wanted to become doctors so they could be rich.  The greed mentality of American society is driving the price of professional services up, and it has no end.

The truth is that when bad services cost becomes borne more and more by the consumer, then they will pull out their check book and write those 200 checks out to that midwife, especially if they are seeking an alternative to the over medicalized birth services of the hospital, where you don’t even know if your own doctor will be there for the delivery.

Another point of interest in the provision of services is the lack of customer service most women find when they go to their physicians office.  When they  visit a midwife, the time of care, and the amount of time waiting for that care is miles ahead of what most doctor’s office are able to provide.  Prenatals are more like a crawl in the waiting room for sometimes an hour past the schedule appointment time and then a pell-mell sprint for five minutes of pokes and tests with the doctor (if you are lucky) and out the door.

Some interesting facets:

The Congressional Budget Office post a report that states:

The results of CBO’s projections suggest that in the absence of changes in federal law:   Total spending on health care would rise from 16 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2007 to 25 percent in 2025, 37 percent in 2050, and 49 percent in 2082.

 Kaiser Family Foundation states the following:
Health spending is rising faster than incomes in most developed countries, which raises questions about how countries will pay for their future health care needs. The issue is particularly acute in the United States, which not only spends much more per capita on health care, but also has had one of the highest spending growth rates.
CNN Reports:
American families who are insured through their jobs average health care costs of $19,393 this year, up 7.3%, or $1,319 from last year…Of the $1,319 annual increase, workers’ out-of-pocket costs this year rose 9.2%. That was more than the 6.6% increase the prior year.
Home Birth and How to Pay for It


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